Welcome!! Grab a cup of coffee and visit with us! We hope you enjoy our story! (((HUGS)))

Welcome!! Grab a cup of coffee and visit with us! We hope you enjoy our story! (((HUGS)))

Monday, December 31, 2012

Mosie standing in his bed by himself!

Here he was August 2011. Very tiny. Very sick.                              

Here he is in April 2012, all 15 pounds of him. He could barely sit. He couldn't hold a toy.

And now! December 2012. Five pounds heavier, a little taller-with bigger feet! And so much stronger!

He has only been home 3 1/2 months. He is growing so fast!! Here he is in his bed standing up all by himself!! He pulled himself up! He wants to stand like everyone else!

He's incredibly smart! He knows his name. He understands so much english! He is amazing!

Not only is he standing- he's balancing against the side of his bed here! "Look Ma-no hands!" He doesn't fall!

He's still so tiny that his bed is a pack and play. The crib is way too big. We made the pak and play cozy with a pretty cover and a mattress. The kids love to change his bedding and put cute little boy patterned sheets on it. Inside is his blankie, his Elmo and a little Snoopy baby.
He turns 8 years old in one month!
He can stand in the walker and his bed now. But not anywhere else. It won't be long before he stands up in a room. I won't be surprised if he walks before Noah! Inside this tiny little body is GIANT determination! And a will to live. So sweet!

He still never cries. Not at the Drs having blood drawn, not when he doesn't get his way. He may sulk for a few seconds and then............he laughs!!

Sister Kitty comes to tell him he's a big boy! Everybody is so happy for him! He gets "shy" and smiles!
And now his reward?  He wants some kisses!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Dr Chip's gift!

Dr Chip our favorite pediatric heart Dr likes to give his favorite patients a stuffed toy! So Moses must be Dr Chip's favoritest patient ever! Because he got this huge red bull dog! LOL!!
Poor Mosie. He's not really loving on this dog. We placed him this way to get him to lean on it. His arms were too tired and he couldn't lift his chest up. His legs are stronger than his arms. He did roll himself completely away from the dog quickly! He can "roll" to move quite fast!
We are working on the 4 point crawl with him. He has grown strength in his legs, but not his arms yet. He really sees no use for this big red dog! He's telling me that he isn't going to stay there for long! :o)
Now Julius thinks this dog is the best thing ever. You can see Mosie is now in the background and Julius has claimed this dog for himself. The only bad thing is if someone takes a toy Julius wants, Julius throws a toy at them!! Aaack! Poor Noah and Mosie have been targets. We have to really watch our ju-ju bean, he is a thinker and he's fast!! I don't think he intends to hurt, but he sure likes to get his way!
LOVE-LOVE-LOVE these precious beautiful boys! They are gifts from God! We are so very blessed this Christmas Season. Our cup is over flowing with JOY!
(((HUGS))) to you ALL!  

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

But I don't want my picture taken!

Hi! Dad.
I'm not looking at you. I'm busy.
I know you have the camera.
Take a picture of Julius. He likes pictures. Don't bug me.
Bye! Dad!
What? You aren't leaving?
Dad, we're playing here.
You know I don't like pictures.
 Hmmm. You think posing me over here away from my cool toys will help?
Sure, Dad.
Now look what you did! You made me........crrrrrrryyy!
No Dad. You are not funny.
You won't make me laugh.
You can't make me look at you!
I'm not going to laugh!
O.K. Dad. I'll look.
What Dad? What do you want?
No I do not want to smile.
I'll look but I'm not smiling!
Phew! Here's Faith!
Faith- save me!
Dad is taking pictures.
I know you like pictures Faith.
But I was busy.
Help me find my alphabet bus, help me make Dad stop.
No Faith, I don't want to smile!
Don't you love me Faith?
I thought you loved me?
Dad won't give up!
Make Dad stop!
Doesn't anybody love me? Mom??!!
I need help here! 
Really Dad?
Another picture.
You take pictures of a guy when he's down?
Well I don't care if Faith is happy.
I don't care if she's smiling.
I'm really beginning to wonder about you Dad!
How's this Dad?
Is this face good?
Will Mom be happy to put this picture on her blog?
No I can't smile!
Faith you can stop smiling. Dad's putting the camera away.
I've got things to do.
Has anybody seen my cell phone?
Boy, I hate it when Dad takes pictures!
How does mom manage to get Dad to stop when he tries to take her picture? Oh! That's right, I can't say those words!!

Monday, December 17, 2012

A little JOY for today

This precious love Noah age 9, has a healthy heart!
Dr Chip, pediatric Cardiologist declares this is so! LOL!!
YEAH! Thank You God!

We rejoice! For a healthy heart!
Now he will have both undescended testicles brought down. And if it works like it did for Julius (bringing only down one for Julius), Noah will have a big growth spurt!!

Julius went pre- corrective surgery in a size 2T with the Urologist thinking he was a girl! (Yes, we were insulted!)
To now, one year later post surgery, a size 4T.
That seemingly "small" correction for him made a huge difference.
Later his Dr and nurse explained to us, that now that the hormones can flow correctly through his body, he can grow!! YEAH!!

Friday, December 14, 2012

It's my saucer and I'll stand if I want to!!

Yeah!!! Mosie!! Good job!! Yeah!! You are standing!!
When Mosie came home he could not support his body weight with his legs.
This is not the walker he usually uses. This is the saucer he goes in if mom has to use the bathroom! LOL!! This is in his 3 sissy's room, right by the bathroom. ;o)
He cannot stand without a walker/saucer unless I hold him up. He is not strong enough to hold onto furniture.
But soon!!
Ooops! Time to rest his legs.
"Hey Dad, stop taking pictures and save me!" LOL!!
Push! Push! Yes! This is how we build strong legs!! :o)
Mosie has gained THREE pounds since coming home three months ago!! While we wish it was more, the Drs are thrilled!
This was how Mosie used to hang his very tiny thin little legs. They are still tiny, but they have a little fat on them now! They should soon grow muscle!Yeah!! Big boy Mosie!!
We were told all three boys could walk and stand when a dear friend visited
them in August 2011. So not true. Mosie was barely sitting up on his own. Poor precious baby.
I call him my baby, but often he is insulted by that. He has big boy interests. He wants to do mega-bloks so bad. But his hands are too tiny. He has so much determination! He does not "think" like a baby! Sorry Mosie, you are a big boy! He can now hold a few electronic toys that were once too heavy, all by himself!!
I just LOVE-LOVE-LOVE my big boy!!
Thank You God!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Brothers who share a bed :o)

Please don't mind the dirty hand prints on the wall. Noah and Jacob have found wiping drooly hands on the wall very entertaining. (yuck!) I think the texture is so different from the cribs they knew. They also chew and scratch on the mesh fabric on the bed rail. Sensory!!

After Jacob is put into bed he also "feels" the piece of plywood (on the right) on the end of his bottom bunk that keeps him from falling out! You can hear little hands and fingernails- scratchy-scratchy!

Then he carefully puts his arm around that end of the bed and"feels" the tippy top of a waste basket that sits there. (very convenient for the top bunk guy- Isaiah, to drop his dirty kleenex into!) Jacob tries to pull it into bed with him, but he can't. So by morning it is toppled over.

Then he rests his head in various positions over the bed rail on the side. It looks so uncomfortable! He tastes it, he chews it. Again he works his way to the wall. 
Squeek-squeek , the sound of little hands rubbing on the wall.

My one rule at bed time is Shh! The noises Jacob makes are all very quiet and don't bother the already sleeping brothers.

Jacob used to "yell". Brothers were not happy. (It took hundreds of trips saying shh, during the night to help him learn. He is about 15' from our bed. I guess it is good exercise for me! :o)

Now if only Noah would learn Sh? soon? Oy!)

Most nights Jacob will slowly, slowly, slowly topple over onto his blankie, made lovingly for him by our Dear Sister Sonya!
And then he is sound asleep.

But tonight, Noah (who sleeps on the other side of the long pillow to the left of Jacob) decided he was going to hang as far over his side of the bed rail as humanly possible! Aaack!

I move Noah over to lay down and told him Shh!
I could see Jacob still sitting, yet so tired, fighting to stay up. I gently laid him down. And off he went to dreamy land.
I don't know why sleepy  boys fight so hard to stay awake!
Once sleeping he looks like my angel. He lets me caress his head and rub his back. Such a sweet boy, such a gentle spirit. But how? How can you come from a place so terrible, and have a heart so pure?

As I kept watch, Noah continued his antics and Jacob slept through it all.

Julius was observing us from (his) the bottom bunk across from Noah and Jacob. Julius would have loved a good before bed tussle with Noah.(unfortunately Julius' tussles end up making precious Noah cry :o(

Jacob always sleeps so peacefully.

Jacob wasn't even bothered by Noah's newest interest!! Noah was checking out "if the bed was softer on Jakie's side"! LOL!!
Jacob even slept through Noah trying to reach waaaaaay over the bed rail to get that darn waste basket Jakie tipped over.

And the funny thing is that if Jakie goes on Noah's side of the bed, Noah wakes up. And Noah tells me "loudly"!! Noah does not like visitors on his side of the bed one bit! LOL!

After moving Noah off of poor sleeping Jacob the 3rd time tonight, and reminding him- shh! ;o)
He finally stayed on his side of the bed. He then lays on his back, and bounces with his feet on the wall. (He used to have a sore on his forehead from doing this at the orphanage sideways in his crib.) He holds his head way back- backwards, laying in his back. In his bed here, he is not long enough to touch feet on the wall and head on the soft mesh bed rail. But he loves to bounce!

Finally Noah bounces off to sleep chewing/sucking his new blankie. (also lovingly made by Dear Sister Sonya). These blankies are incredibly durable!! And very washable! Unlike the sleeves of his jammies we have had to pin up so he can't chew holes in them!

On a good night Noah and Jacob sleep all night. On a rough night one of them wakes me up around 3 a.m.
It is a work in progress!
Considering they've only been home 3 months...........I think they are doing FANTASTIC!!
Sleeping like little angels!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Good News for Mosie!

"Oh I have good news to share with everyone!"
Mosie's little heart is strong enough for his surgeries!
He has a mild heart murmur. No other concerns given his tiny size.
His pediatric Cardiologist Dr Chip gave him the O.K.!!
Tonsils/adenoids will come out first! Please pray he can breathe better after this. Because right now he is our "poorest" night breather. :o(
Then the urologist and pediatric dentist.  

Fourteen years ago I bought white noise machines because Samson (then 3 years old) had such terrible sleep apnea. He too had his tonsils/adenoids out. But it didn't help. :o( Samson outgrew his apnea, thank goodness! I could not sleep a wink listening to him at night.

Mosie breathes much quieter. But his tongue obstructs his airway. Right now he has a cold. His airway-throat are so small. Boogies everywhere, dinner comes up the back of his nose if he can't swallow good. Boogies get in the way. So tomorrow a.m. he sees the Dr for a little antibiotic help.

And he never complains. I learn so much from him. Oh how we LOVE him!

I've gotten behind in my daily posts till New Years. I have been sick, ugh, again. Tom is sick. And so are the 4 blessings- Faith,Lysa,Kitty, Isaiah.
So far the 5 youngest boys have not been nearly as sick as those 4 have been. This has been a long winter already.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Help Simon and prayers please for Dr Elizabeth

This handsome young man is Simon. He is from the same orphanage as our 3 new boys! His new momma Anna traveled with her friend Grace and my Tom to visit the kids last April.
Right now Anna has a chip in challenge! If she receives $1,000.00 in doations, someone will match that with another $1,000.00!! Please go check out her blog! She is so inspiring!
And here is her RR FSP page~
Also our Dear Dear, Dear friend, Dr Elizabeth, her link is on the right- under the clouds- "pray for Elizabeth". Please pray for her. She was in the hospital and has not been feeling well. She played a HUGE part in bringing home our 3 new boys. She also helped with J & P. She helps many- many- many children/orphans selflessly. She is the sweetest most LOVING woman I have ever met, even though we only know each other through the computer. If you know her, you know how easy it is to LOVE her and her beautiful family. When she hurts, we hurt. Please keep her in your prayers!
((((HUGS)))) We LOVE you Elizabeth!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Julius, Momma's boy

For four years, you pushed everyone away.
For four years you lived in an orphanage.
You didn't need help.
If you couldn't do it yourself, you just wouldn't do it.
When Dad came to see you in your Country,
You pushed him away as well.
Once home,
You tried to push us all away.
Sometimes I thought maybe it was for the best.
You weren't going to get close to anyone anyway.........were you?
You were so angry.
We saw your pain.

Oh how little did I know!
The capacity one 5 year old boy could love!

You wanted someone to work hard for your love.
You weren't giving it away.
No matter how hard you tried those four years,
No one had ever given it to you.
Sitting alone, day after day those four years.
With only your basic needs being met.
No one sitting with you,
just to be near you.
No one talking just to you.
No one choosing you, reading to you, singing to you.
There were too few staff,
spread thinly among the kids who did not have special needs.

Bless your precious heart,
you do not think you have any special needs at all!
And you may be right.
But I have a special need,
and it's you.

Right when I decided to just love you,
for you.
You were watching me.

You were learning to love your new brothers and sisters.
You were learning to love Pauly, the little boy from the same orphanage as you that you had never played with.
The very few orphanage staff have no time to help special needs kids play with each other.
So Pauly hit you, bit and pulled your hair.
Until he realized that he liked that you loved him.
You were safe for him to love.

We had a lot of time.
So we practiced with you and Pauly day after day.
You tried to let everyone think you didn't have a clue.
You tried to push us away.
But I saw that little spark in your eyes.
You were learning fast.
You weren't accepting it,
but you learned it so quickly!

Dad took you to your big surgery.
When you came out from the anesthesia,
Surrounded by the Drs and nurses,
You saw Dad,
And your eyes begged for him.
It was your first time to need Dad,
To want Dad.
He was there to love you!
He was so happy to care for you!
From then and until forever.

When you came home I nursed your wounds.
You were not happy with me.
It hurt.
You still tried to keep your distance.

How could I get you to realize how much I loved you?
How could I get you to let your guard down.
So you could love too?

You hated changes in your routine.
Dad was a big part of your day.
Dad brought you home.
If he was gone you really missed him.
You wanted him,
not me.

So right when I decided you were Daddy's boy.......
You chose me.


I should have known.

When you spit,
I'm the one they hand you to!
When you hit,
I'm the one you sit in time out with!
When you are LOUD!
I'm the one you sit with quietly until the fighting stops!
When you are in a fight over your head,
I'm the one who swoops you up.

Yup, Mom's the one who gets all the little boys who are full of life!

And the natural consequence of that is,
Lots of mom time.
Lots and lots and lots of mom time.
When others thought Mom time was boring,
You needed it!
You thrived on it!

It was filling you up!

And then it's just kind of natural,
You stopped seeking negative attention,
You looked for me first,
And you just come to me over and over,
All on your own.

Sometimes you prefer to just stay with me.

You even taught Pauly how to "find" me!
But he gives himself away,
He laughs so loudly as he runs from his siblings,
As they chase him down to bring him back!
Pauly doesn't hide his emotions like you!
You are quiet and secret yourself to me!
All on your own!

But can I tell you a secret?

I finally know how much you love me!
You try to pretend you are just with me to "see" what's going on,
But out of the corner of my eye,
I see you smile, I see you laugh!
I see you sit confidently at my side,
Showing everyone,
That you are smart!

Yup, my special need is you!
And your special need is me!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Incredibly silly boys!

Jacob, Moses, Noah.
Dad finished feeding them dinner. So they are a little messy! LOL!!
Dad forgot to wipe their faces! :o)
Jacob likes to twist his fingers in odd shapes and hold them near his eyes.
Jacob has captured our hearts and holds them. What a blessing!
I love-love-love this picture! LOL!! Noah makes the funniest faces. You just never know how he's going to "look" at you!! And the look on his face actually means nothing! He just likes to move his facial muscles!
Noah brings us so much joy, making us laugh every day! 
Now these last 2 pictures of Mosie are crazy!! LOL!! He looks like a deer caught in head lights! You can see he threw his orange and white sock on Jacob! And he's pulled his pants legs up as usual! He never makes faces like this! These are Noah faces! LOL!
Here too! Oh my goodness! Too too funny. We have no idea what he was thinking/doing!! What silly boys!! LOL!!
Jacob is happy, his tummy is full!

Yesterday Moses was in the walker. He is standing now! We have to clap every time he stands, to encourage him. He stands- we clap, he sits. He stands- we clap he sits! Over and over. He could not stand at all before. Now I can hold him up and he will stand! So exciting!! In his
cozy little playpen/bed (he's too tiny in a crib) he got up on his knees first time ever!! Soon he'll be standing in his bed too!!

His walker sits near a large dog crate. We put the dog in it to keep him from licking little faces until they are chapped!
As I was leaning towards Moses, the dog was whining.
In a mean voice I said to the dog "Quiet"!
Moses jumped up in the walker and quickly slapped my head, and then tried to scratch/claw at my face. He had a look we've never seen. He was angry. :o(
I was so shocked but realized that he was ready to fight. He had heard this "voice" before. It scared him. He was going to fight it.

Poor precious baby. I quickly sat next to him quietly, gently putting his arms down. I waited for him to look at me. He did and I smiled. I held my hand out to him and he took it.
He forgave me and loved me again that quickly, bless his heart.
I can never use an angry voice near him again.

I know Julius and Pauly used to hate it if I told the dog "bad boy". They thought I was talking to them in that tone, even though they did not understand english then. So I would show them "bad doggy". But Moses does not understand even that much at this time. I need to be more careful.

I was so surprised to see that Mosie had this "fighter" side to him. When Tom picked Moses up from the orphanage they told Tom "He is a trouble maker." We thought they were nuts.

So did he fight them? In their angry hurried ways?
Is that why he's so much smaller than his brothers? Because he fought back?

I shudder to think.

But I'm so glad he fought to survive.

He is a gift to all who LOVE him!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Then two boys came! :o) or part 2 of how we started!

August 2011, two little 4 year old boys from an orphanage in Eastern Europe were picked up by their Daddy and brother Gabriel.

What a mess!! LOL!!

We were prepared, and not prepared!

They did not like leaving the orphanage. They wanted to go "home" to where they came from! When Tom and I skyped, they were so loud moaning and groaning and complaining, I could not even hear Tom!

These sweet boys were like no other children we ever adopted.
Their "survival" skills were deeply ingrained. They saw no reason to stop surviving now, during what seemed to be the worst days of their lives! They did not want or need us!

But we needed them. And that's how we bonded!

By the time they got home to the USA, they were 2 separate heavily grieving toddlers. They ran (well scooted) in opposite directions from us. They did not find comfort in us or each other. They even attacked each other! They clearly did not like adults. (us) They did however like our children and often accepted a little attention from them. They'd sit and stare off into the distance, if they weren't running away. Pauly hated toys, Julius loved a few odd toys that he clung to for dear life. So we used those toys to help him have some control in his life. We made sure he had them with him. He picked them.

The first time they bathed they froze in fear. I wanted to cry. They easily would refuse food, so we had to be careful not start control battles over that. Now they have a few foods they don't really enjoy but will eat. That's wonderful, because we can't make separate meals for everyone!

They were like living "dolls". They had no real likes. They were loud day and night. Pauly bit. Julius was (still is- ugh) a world class champion spitter. Pauly now only bites when over excited, Julius spits..............well we're still working on this! ;o) They had diaper blow outs constantly, which we think was caused from their emotions. Their emotional distress seemed to be causing them to "hold" it a long time and then blow outs would occur. They no longer do this! We've seen other young children do this when distressed. Eating our foods caused tummy distress too. They weren't used to how we ate.

Even through all of the hardship. We knew that there was something unbelievably special about them. Something very different. Was it because they needed us so much? Or that their little lives depended on us. I just don't know. All I know is no matter how hard our days were, or how loud our nights were with them, we went to bed feeling so good about what we were doing with them. So satisfied with each day's tiny progress.

By the time their 3 new Eastern European brothers came home, we knew that Julius and Pauly were part of us. No longer strangers in a strange land. No longer the "new" boys. We were completely bonded for life with them. We knew everything about them, their smells, their hugs. We could no longer remember a time that they had not been our boys!

It was so satisfying to be bonded to Julius & Pauly, it helped our hearts celebrate the three new boys coming home! Three more to get to know. Heart to heart!

And this time, (with the three boys) we really thought we were once again prepared. But were we? Nope. We were not prepared for how incredibly special they were! How much we would LOVE them and they would LOVE us back!!

Home. Home is where the heart is. My heart is with God, my physical being is home here with my husband and children. I thank God for "home" here! I know our true home is Heaven! I thank God for that incredible blessing. But to have my heart filled with "home" (Tom/children) here are also a huge gift from God, I am so blessed!

Now if my Dear husband will pleeeease take some pictures tomorrow! ( I've only asked 4 days in a row! LOL!) I will share about 3 extraordinary little boys who have amazing capacities to LOVE!

Monday, December 3, 2012

This is why we don't buy gifts

                                                                   photo credit google

We give gifts of donations to families adopting.........All year round.
We help families who adopted children with great medical needs.

I have adult children who felt deprived because we did not go to Valley Fair, Mall of America, Swimming parties, Disney World. They had wished for lavish gifts.
They thought their childhoods were boring.
Because we LOVED the orphan first.

I can't/won't even apologize for that.
This face says it all.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

How we started........

I didn't miss a post yesterday~ I just posted on my other blog! :o)

I'll try to make this brief. Hopefully it won't bore people to tears.

Tonight I'll share how we started. If I make it brief I think I can put it in one post! LOL! I thought I had written it before but couldn't find anything. :o(

Tom and I married in may of 1976. A million years ago. (wink*) My daughter Angel was 2 weeks old. Tom adopted her. We knew each other since he was 16 and I was 13, we'd broken up a few times and people laughed when we told them we were going to get married. My mother insisted I date. Boys would call, she'd happily tell them I was home. And I wish I'd been strong enough to say no. Tom was in the military until Feb.1976. So he wasn't much help!

Being an unwed mom was hard. Having alcoholic parents was hard. (my parents are so precious to me now, mom became a Christan at age 50! Dad passed away.) I wanted to make a difference in hurting people's lives. To help others overcome difficult situations.

I also desperately wanted to be a Christian!

At 22 I became a Christian!! YEAH!!!

We bought a home when I was 20. It felt so empty. Four bedrooms. Tom was working 70 miles away.
So we started taking un-wed moms in. We did that for a couple years. I really wanted to adopt. Tom was o.k. about it but not too excited about my idea of having a big family of 6 children!

We applied to adopt when I was 23. And promptly found out I was pregnant with my 3rd child! A huge blessing after being told at age 16 I'd never have kids. So back then if you got pregnant- the adoption stops, baby is born and one year later you can apply to adopt.

But we didn't apply to adopt then.
When my son, my 3rd child was 2 yrs old, we applied to be child foster parents. We fostered our Andy then age 7 and adopted him at age 10.

Andy was developmentally delayed from FAS and mentally ill. He was the most difficult child we ever parented. And yet we are so over-joyed that we did! We are overjoyed that he is our son.

We fostered a few more times. But the County thought we were wanting to adopt the foster kids and back then (1985) it was not good for foster parents to adopt their foster kids. In fact we were offered much more foster care work if we did not adopt Andy.
But then he would have ended up in a group home. :o(
We couldn't do that.

So we quit foster care and started Day Care! :o) We asked the County if we could adopt through them. They said "we don't look for kids for families". Whatever that meant?

So we did Day Care and applied to do a homestudy from the Adoption agency we started our first application with in 1980!

My Day Care ended up being almost all special ed kids!! :o)
We had Chance age 15 (profoundly delayed), Keith age 14 (Down Syndrome), adorable Kelly adopted from Korea had Hep B. Hep B is not a disability but other parents refused to let me watch their kids with her, for fear their kids would get it. :o(
Years later Keith lived in our group home for a year. Sadly his family had a disagreement with us and he moved. We haven't seen him since. He was precious.

After 2 years of Day Care we heard that large corporate Adult group homes were closing. Small County licensed group homes (4 bed) were needed. So we opened up our home to adults with disabilities. MA was our first blessing!! (I quit Day Care after 4 years.)

Then we got the call! Our baby Joy was born in September 1988 in AZ. She had DS. She was also born without nasal passages and an elctro-cardial defect in her precious heart.

We lost Joy in February, 5 months later. We were devastated. In June we were called to pick up our 5 1/2 yr old daughter Molly from CT. She was from a disrupted adoption. We were told she had a TBI and CP. But they were wrong and it took 10 years to figure out it was a terminal form of the severest genetic ataxia.

After Molly came in 1989, a super healthy perfectly formed Grace came in 1990, Matthew with a hernia, severe food allergies (egg & peanut) came in 1991, Hope- super healthy came in 1993, Gabriel with severe chronic asthma (he didn't sleep through the night until he was 3 years old!) came in 1995.

In 1990 a wealthy business owner offered us a salary, a home on 50 acres and free adoptions! But there would be a board of directors and we would have to do as they asked. We would also have to shut down our group home and parent full time. It was so tempting. But we declined.

In 1998 we prayed for another baby with DS. And God blessed us with Samson age 3 who had DS. He is the same age as Gabriel. At first Gabe was o.k. with it. But eventually he had a hard time understanding having a brother like Samson. Grace, Matthew and Hope were more accepting. But personalities in brothers sometimes differ in ways that are hard to understand. Gabe loves Samson very much. Samson was/is perfect for us!

After MA had joined our group home in 1987. Susie who had DS joined us. Susie was a hand full! Spirited, feisty, loud, and although she was much lower functioning..................you didn't dare tell her that she was wrong! LOL!! Or she'd tell you it was you!!
No one else wanted her in their group home. She lived with us 16 years until the week before she passed away in the ICU from alzheimers at age 44.
Oh! how we cried. Her family shared her with us and we adored her. We miss her every day.
I became pregnant with my Isaiah 2 months after she died. I thought for sure God was giving me my own little baby with DS.

We had many more adults with DS live in our group home over the last 25 years. Sometimes they had families that were too hard to deal with, who expected too much from us and we had to ask them to leave. Sometimes families will knit pick everything you do, and you just have to tell them to find another home. We do our best. We're not perfect.

I only had troubles with one woman with DS. She had mosaic DS. She was incredibly bright. She wrote stories, and talked circles around MA. But her family was convinced that DS meant she was very very disabled. This was so not true.
So she wet herself, and refused to stand up straight- hiding from everyone. She shop lifted and lied. It broke my heart but there was nothing I could do. Sadly I asked them to find her another home. I was offered a huge raise to keep her. But we don't do this for money. We do this to support ourselves. We don't need to be rich.

So I guess as you can see. Our life was sprinkled with people with DS throughout whatever we did. And we LOVED them ALL! Each one a uniquely individual person who taught us incredible lessons about life!

But we hated that they came in and out of our lives without any control! (Isn't that just how life is? :o)
Our Joy passed away. Our Samson, we were told that his heart condition could not be repaired and there was no way to know how long he'd live. But he's still here! And I quit worrying years ago. Because every day with Samson is a gift!

After Samson we adopted Faith in 2001. She has FAS. We were told we were number 9 on the waiting list for a baby. But everyone else waiting said no to her, so we were blessed with her! Her full name is Faith Blessing and she lives up to that name every day!

2002 we adopted our granddaughter Elizabeth (healthy) at birth. 2003 we adopted out granddaughter Katherine (healthy) at birth. (birth sisters 11 months apart) 2004 "surprise" baby Isaiah was born! And then I pouted for 5 years because these 4 in a row kids were hard!!

When Isaiah turned 5 he looked at me and said "You should have another baby mom!" Sadly I told him that I was 52 and that wasn't going to happen. He and I almost died during my high risk pregnancy.

But I had an idea..........that Tom at first didn't want to hear! LOL!! Let's adopt!!

So we applied and waited a year for a US child, and no luck.
I suggested to Tom~ "You know if you would consider going to Europe, we could adopt two, three or four children!!"
Now I'm thinking this is a one time thing. Tom is thinking- what the what!!??

I found our first 2 boys when Shelley B asked "Why isn't anybody adopting these 2 boys, they are young, at the same orphanage and their Country won't release more files of young children if they aren't chosen!"
Both boys had DS, right up our alley! LOL!! And I JUMPED at the chance to tell Shelley B several times- "we want them! Those are our boys!!" I was worried that maybe I was in competition with many other families wanting my boys! Nope!! They were OURS!! I asked if there were any other children available at that orphanage, but there weren't. Tom said only two!

After learning everything about this Country, the special needs children, the living conditions. Tom's heart softened and he was on a mission. After J & P came home, he would go back again. Being ex-Army he was ready to rescue! LOL! Even after years of adopting we knew we could not bring 4 home at a time, (too hard) we thought we could do 3 if they were older. So we scoured the RR pages and found every child in our Country.We sorted according to orphanage, read, sorted some more. One orphanage had quite a few. We picked Mosie first, (oh how I loved his video!) then we picked Jacob. Finally we asked Shelley B if there were any others there. She mentioned Noah and a few others.(We could have picked Katie, but we knew boys were picked less, of course God knew Katie had a family!!) Even then Tom wanted a girl, but I was busy worrying about those less chosen boys, the boys had stolen my heart.
And that was it. We picked 3 more to join us the following year after J & P!!

We know this was God's plan. Everything fell into place. And even though satan battled to stop it. God will always win! We give God the Glory!!

Tomorrow I'll tell how it felt for two strange little 4 year old boys to enter our family!
I apologize if this ended up just being long winded!